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Déjà Brew as Starbucks Defends Title of World’s Most Valuable Brand in Restaurant Sector

12 February 2019
This article is more than 2 years old.

· Starbucks continues to dominate as world’s most valuable restaurant brand, with brand value of US$39.3 billion

· McDonald’s is strongest brand in sector, only brand to receive AAA+ brand strength rating

· Taco Bell is fastest growing restaurant brand this year, up 83% to US$3.3 billion

· US brands dominate top 25, with only 3 non-US brands in ranking

View the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2019 report here

Starbucks, the ever-popular coffee chain, remains the most valuable restaurant brand after its brand value increased by 21% since last year to US$39.3 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Starbucks has continued to expand its business to strengthen its lead in a sector that remains dominated by large US brands.

Over the last year, the brand has broadened its footprint geographically and through strategic partnerships: the doubling of its stores across China; a joint venture with Indian non-alcoholic drinks brand, Tata Global Beverages; an upcoming partnership with Uber Eats, enabling customers to have hot coffee delivered right to their doorstep; and by entering the packaged coffee market in a partnership with Swiss giant Nestlé.

McDonald’s lovin’ its AAA+ rating

McDonald’s has maintained its second position closely behind Starbucks with a brand value of US$31.5 billion, up 27% from last year. The top two brands leave the rest of the ranking far behind, with KFC pulling ahead into third place following 67% growth to US$13.5 billion.

Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

The world’s most iconic fast food chain, McDonald’s, is the only AAA+ brand in the restaurant sector, with a brand strength of 90.3 out of 100 versus the 86.2 out of 100 rating for Starbucks. It has continued to vigorously improve its reputation in the market, abolishing the use of artificial preservatives, colours, and flavourings.

McDonald’s has reduced its workforce significantly over the past five years and has also increased its locations to circa 38,000, serving 69 million customers worldwide per day. Their expansion programme has seen the company reinforce its presence in the Nordic region and increase visibility in Australia and Russia. Over the past year, the company has seen its brand value increase by 27% to US$31.5 billion.

Supersized chains put on weight

The most valuable brands in the ranking have grown considerably faster than those in the bottom half of the table. The top thirteen restaurant brands with values of US$2.5 billion or more have achieved an average growth of 36% year on year, compared to only 1% for the remaining twelve brands.

The most rapidly growing brand in the sector is Taco Bell, its brand value rising by an impressive 83% to US$3.3 billion. Similarly, franchises Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ each grew by 73%, taking their values to US$5.4 billion and US$4.6 billion respectively. Dunkin’s success can be attributed to their recent rebrand effort, slimming down their traditional brand name. Wendy’s also saw significant growth, up 47%, resulting in a brand value of US$3.4 billion.

Smaller restaurant groups, such as Buffalo Wild Wings (up 1% to US$901million), Sonic (up 2% to US$962 million), Chipotle (up 4% to US$2.7 billion) and Olive Garden (up 4% to US$1.5 billion) have struggled to grow substantially against a backdrop of large, high-profile, multi-location chains, but some of the more modestly-sized groups enjoy high levels of loyalty and brand strength, such as Costa Coffee, which has the second highest brand strength rating (87.8 out of 100), despite losing 11% in value. Papa John’s (down 19% to US$790 million) and Jack in the Box (down 21% to US$734 million) are another two examples of brands that have lost value since last year.

David Haigh, CEO Brand Finance, commented:

“The restaurant sector continues to polarise, creating ever more larger brands that are not only very visible, but also very valuable. In a highly competitive marketplace middle sized and small players need to focus on understanding their customers’ tastes and habits to maintain their loyalty and fend off growing threat from supersized chains.

Tim Hortons tops menu outside US

Apart from the UK’s Costa Coffee, only two non-US brands make the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2019 ranking. Restaurant Brands International-owned Tim Hortons is ranked sixth (up 10% to US$5.5 billion), with a brand presence across fourteen countries.

Jollibee of the Philippines, ranked 15th with a brand value up 11% to US$ 1.7 billion, has been touted as one to watch. Jollibee is a fast food brand rising through the ranks with its diverse menu of US and Asian inspired dishes that set it apart from other high street fast food chain brands. With its devoted following in the Philippines and international expansion across Italy, the UK, Spain and Guam, Jollibee could well become the next KFC. The brand’s visionary CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong is to be credited with steering the chain towards achieving global brand status.


Note to Editors
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest restaurant brands. The 25 most valuable restaurant brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2019 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2019 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognized standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Konrad Jagodzinski
Konrad Jagodzinski
Communications Director
Brand Finance
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Senior Communications Manager
Brand Finance

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